New Delhi: In an unprecedented and "extraordinary" event in the history of Indian judiciary, four senior sitting judges of the Supreme Court on Friday met the media to allege that the administration of the country's top court was not in order.
"It is an extraordinary event in the history of judiciary and more particularly in this nation, even for this institution (Supreme Court). It is with no pleasure that we have been compelled to do this.
"Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. We tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order and remedial measures are necessary.
"Unfortunately our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice of India to take steps to protect this institution," Justice J. Chelameswar-- the No.2 in the apex court hierarchy -- said at a hurriedly called press conference at his residence.
Flanked by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurien Joseph and Madan B. Lokur, he said the four of them were convinced that "for the survival of democracy an impartial judge and justices are needed".
"All of us are convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintain its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country. For survival of a democracy, it is said... the hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges."
Without disclosing what they were upset about, Justice Chelameswar said a lot of things had been written in the media and it was not a political controversy.
"Since all our efforts failed... Even this morning, on a particular issue, we, four of us, went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request. Unfortunately we could not convince him. Therefore, we were left with no choice but to communicate with the nation to please take care of the institution and the nation.
"We have heard a lot of wise men talking about... But I don't want some wise men to tell us later after 20 years that we four judges sold our souls instead of taking care of the institution and the nation. We have placed this in front of the people. This is what we wanted to convey."
Replying to queries on what actually the issue was, Justice Chelameswar said: "About a couple of months back, four of us senior judges wrote a signed letter to the Chief Justice. We wanted a particular thing to be done in a particular manner. It was done but its raised many questions."
Justice Gogoi said they were "discharging debt to the nation that has got us here".